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Free Will and Classical TheismThe Significance of Freedom in Perfect Being Theology$
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Hugh J. McCann

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190611200

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190611200.001.0001

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The Indicative in the Imperative

The Indicative in the Imperative

On Augustinian Oughts and Cans

Chapter:
(p.71) Chapter 5 The Indicative in the Imperative
Source:
Free Will and Classical Theism
Author(s):

Jesse Couenhoven

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190611200.003.0005

Those who reject “ought implies can” (OIC) may have good reason to do so, but their case has been weakened by their reluctance to offer an alternative to that dictum. Jesse Couenhoven shows how OIC plays an important role in moral theory because it limits moral demands by excusing agents from wrongdoing under certain circumstances. Opponents of OIC would strengthen their case by offering a replacement dictum that plays the same theoretical role. Drawing on the compatibilist thought of Augustine, Luther, and Jonathan Edwards, this essay offers a replacement, dubbed “ought implies apt.” Thus, what an agent ought to do is tied to what is fitting for that agent, given the agent’s design plan. The fruitfulness and plausibility of this proposal are tested by its ability to illuminate a number of cases often used in discussion of OIC, including moral dilemmas.

Keywords:   Augustine, Edwards, Luther, ought, can, compatibilist, moral dilemmas

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